• Champions League

Benitez hails Torres' defensive traits

ESPN staff
December 5, 2012
Chelsea will be hoping Fernando Torres can find the net against Nordsjaelland © PA Photos

Rafael Benitez has launched a bizarre defence of Chelsea striker Fernando Torres by praising his defensive qualities.

Chelsea's Champions League fate lies out of their hands; the defending champions must win their final Group E clash against Nordsjaelland on Wednesday and hope Shakhtar Donetsk beat Juventus if they are to reach the knockout stages.

The Blues' interim manager has been tasked with helping Torres rediscover the form he enjoyed during his tenure at Liverpool, which prompted Roman Abramovich to splash out £50 million for him in January 2011.

Torres has now gone over 12 hours without scoring, but Benitez insists he is not concerned over the Spaniard's form, and hit back at England coach Gary Neville's suggestion that his team-mates had lost faith in the striker.

"Fernando is a great player and his team-mates know this," Benitez said. "If he is in the right position they'll play the ball to him. If he's not, maybe they won't.

"All I can do is see things on the pitch and on the training ground, and Fernando is doing really well. He scored a lot in training yesterday but it's not just about the goals. For example, we have changed his position for corners against us and he was amazing.

"I don't know if Gary Neville has analysed this but two or three times now Fernando has cleared the ball. He is really good at that, helping the team to defend. Of course we want him to score but I wouldn't mind him not scoring as long as the team is winning. Winning is the main thing."

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.